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Advertising icon and philanthropist Ashok Kurien turns 70

Trinity Entertainment executed a grand celebration

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MUMBAI: “Life is a circus and I’ve been the clown,” is what Ambience boss and advertising icon (one of the pioneers  of private satellite TV in India as a founders of Zee TV and, now a committed social philanthropist) Ashok Kurien is known to say. And it was this belief of his that inspired the theme for his seventieth birthday party, planned and executed by Trinity Entertainment & Strategic Consultant.

“The Circus of Life” celebrations marked the beginning of a new year in the life of Kurien, was one of the most enthralling evenings of the decade, it was uniquely planned and executed as an ode to his creativity. From an OTT pop up card announcing the Circus of Life theme to the OTT red-carpeted giant circus tent straight out of a kid’s fantasy, circus rings, aerialists, stilt walkers, jugglers, unicyclists, clowns, multiple photo-opts, a giant lion and a giant Ashok Kurien clown-like sculpture of his face, it was astounding but oh so colourful. Everywhere one looked on Friday evening, performance artistes and acrobats were putting on a spectacle never seen before.

But what no one had expected was the wave of nostalgia that collectively swept over the evening. In retelling his life in the form of songs and dance, Kurien gave his friends an unexpected reliving of their own lives with music that touched the soul. From jazz standards to an Elvis impersonator; Choir songs, risqué rugby ditties; and a straight retro set which included numbers that ranged from ‘Bing Crosby to Boney M to Bruno Mars, and from Engelbert to Enrique’, most of the baby boomers (now senior citizens) were raving on the dance floor, with all elements seamlessly integrated into a story showcasing key milestones in Ashok’s life.

The planning of the event started way back in September 2019 which gave the team at Trinity Entertainment & Strategic Consultants enough time to understand and break down each aspect of his life and do justice to it. Ashok’s first statement to the team was “Can you fly me out of a cannon” and that’s when it was sure that this celebration would be something that the city will always remember with Ashok being the key orchestrator!

“I got to script my life story (and all my fantasies),” said Kurien the next day, adding “I hope it gave all of us the chance to relive our childhoods and become kids again”. Creating a magical experience for the guests, each one had a smile on their face. Attended by those closest to him, the guests were left mesmerised by the sheer scale and attention to detail.

Close to his heart, the event also had another side to it that was so full of love that it made everyone's heart melt. Ashok and his wife Rachel Wawn are so deeply committed to corporate social responsibility and empowering the disfranchised, that they paid for an extra day and kept the entire set up intact so that they could host 350 underprivileged and challenged children for a circus show over lunch the next afternoon. Talk about making a wish on a birthday! Pictures from the lunch are a brief peek into Wawn and Kurien dancing joyously with the children, demonstrating that however OTT and grand one makes one's celebrations, the joy can be multiplied exponentially if we include the less fortunate. Will others who host such celebrations take a leaf out of Kurien’s progressive and thoughtful example? Could this be a (welcome) trend henceforth? We all definitely hope so. “If it even inspires a few others to do the same, think of what a thing it could be,” the delighted Ashok said.

It’s safe to say, Ashok Kurien really has raised the bar. And big props to Trinity Entertainment for pulling off what seemed like one of their most magnificent projects ever.

Ashok Kurien, a legendary stalwart of the advertising space in India is also the co-founder of Zee Entertainment Television and many other major ventures. Accredited with the iconic ‘Taste The Thunder‘ campaign for Thums Up, he is a man who has contributed immensely to the creative world. Words cannot do justice to his achievements and accomplishments and his reputation and passion for his work precede his name at all times.

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